Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dear Thief,

I just wanted to write a quick note on my blog to thank the thief who stole our van last Wednesday. I am sure you found all 6 of our car seats to be of use to you in your thieving activities. I am sure it was easy for you to find a pawn shop nearby to pawn my husbands tools that he uses to provide for our family. Dear thief, thank you so much for trashing the inside of our van and leaving all of your drug paraphernalia inside. And... for the stolen motorcycle that was found in the back! We now have to change the locks to the doors of our home and the locks and keys to our van. What a big surprise you have given us and I am grateful for the reminders you have left behind. The reminder of these truths from the Bible...

Matthew 6:19  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 

Luke 12:33  Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. 

 and

2 Peter 3:10  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 

Revelation 16:15  Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. 

Praise God! I know just how quickly He meant now!

I sincerely forgive you sir and I do hope that you will find eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:9,10  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
 

You would'nt have to steal from others ever again...

Proverbs 8:21  That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.

Proverbs 10:22  The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

John 14:2,3  In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 

I am so glad that we got our van back. I praise God for it's safe return! 


Monday, October 6, 2014

My Favorite Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins
(makes 24)

2 eggs slightly beaten
1 cup of milk (or more)
1/2 cup oil or melted butter
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup bluberries

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Beat your eggs slightly, stir in milk and oil or butter.

In a seperate bowl mix together dry ingredients.

Combine mixtures, then stir in half of the blueberries.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full, then sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the tops.

Bake for 20  minutes or less.

Let cool for several minutes...ENJOY!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A little of what we have been up to...



Guinevere turns 8!


story time
Mary turns 2

hanging with friends at the park  
playing at the mall and having a ball
so happy!
Riding the train at the mall
it was a fun day!
Samuel is 2 months old already...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Stedfast Baptist Church

Finally able to sit down and write a blog post. So much has happened these past months since the birth of Samuel. Our very first church service was August 31st. Since then we have had many people saved, 3 baptized, and even a wedding in that short time. It has been exciting to see God work here in Ft Worth. You can listen to my husband's sermons online, either in mp3 format, on our website www.stedfastbaptistkjv.org or on YouTube on the faithaloneromero channel. We also have facebook page set up, so head on over and like our page. I will try to do more updates on our family and the church once we get more settled here. Blessings!


First Sunday we had 53 in attendance!

2 baptisms after the first service

A beautiful wedding for a happy couple!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Our Baby Samuel

Benjamin Samuel Romero
Born 7/23/2014
7 lbs 6 oz
21 inches long

We are SO overjoyed that he is finally here!!!
Birth story to follow...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pregnancy Craving - Grandma's Bunuelos

I had to find out the correct spelling to write this blog post. I have always thought that these sweet treats my Mexican grandma used to make were called monuelos...not so! Last night I had a serious pregnancy craving for these fried goodies, so I went the cheater route and used pre made uncooked flour tortillas. And they turned out so good that I could not stop myself from eating them. I was making 3 at a time and eating one. I had to make myself stop. Who doesn't love fried dough with cinnamon and sugar on top? Here I will share how you can make your own, you won't be disappointed!

1- Heat a frying pan with oil of choice to around 350 degrees or until just bubbling onto a wooden spoon when you check it.
2- Cut uncooked pre made tortillas into triangles (like a pizza)


3- Once oil is heated carefully place triangles into pan and fry a few at a time. Cook until just browned on both sides (30 seconds or more per side)
4- Placed fried dough onto paper towels to drain off excess oil.


5- In a bowl of cinnamon and sugar place your warm dough and coat both sides of each bunuelo.
6- Repeat until you have made your desired amount.



That's it! It's that simple. You can make these up before a Mexican dinner and serve them with ice cream for dessert. Or you can do like I did and fill up on them before dinner so that they become a replacement. Either way, you will love them and so will your family!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Oatmeal Pancakes

Instead of using the same ole recipe I always use for pancakes, I changed it up a bit and used oatmeal instead of flour. They turned out really good, so I want to share my recipe with you.

Oatmeal Pancakes
2 1/2 or more cups oats
6 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
1 2/3 cups milk
4 Tbsp oil
2 eggs beaten

Heat large skillet or hot plate while preparing pancake batter. I set mine to 325 degrees. Blend your oats in blender until smooth (makes about 2 cups flour), in bowl or stand mixer add flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix together. In a large liquid measuring cup, beat 2 eggs, add milk and oil, stir. Pour wet ingredients into flour mixture and mix just until combined.

Pour pancake batter using a 1/3 measuring cup onto hot plate. Start to pour batter in the middle of where you want it to spread out and you will get round pancakes. Cook until bubbly on one side and flip, about 1 or 2 minutes on each side, remove immediately. Stack all of them up on a plate.


Serve with lots of butter and syrup of your choice. We love Log Cabin around here ;) Enjoy!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mama's Schedule


I recently posted my new schedule for the kids. This schedule helps us to keep track of what is suppose to happen when. Of course things don't always go as planned, but I strive to make the important things happen on a daily basis. It has been working quite well for us, so far. Except I noticed that the kids get stir crazy because it is so hot outside. So I need to find some fillers for their free time. Activities that don't include mom. Because...when they are to be having their fun free time, I am working on my daily tasks and cooking meals. I felt it was a little lopsided to only give you the kid's schedule. It would be better if you could see what a real day in my life is like. Please note that I am 33 weeks pregnant, and feeling it. So I am not as motivated as I would normally be. I am currently trying to maintain my sanity...so here it is:

1-upon rising, read daily proverb and pray
2-shower while listening to audio Bible
3-straighten my room and finish getting ready for my day
4-help kids to get dressed/make beds and find their place on the couch (to wait for breakfast)
5-work on cleaning up the kitchen (from the night before if needed), while I start cooking breakfast
6-serve breakfast, sit and eat with my littles
7-clean up breakfast mess
8-free time for the kids, while I work on chores (I do what desperately needs done)
9-start the kids on their daily chores
10-look at lesson plans for the day and do any prep work
11-start lunch
12-eat with littles
13-clean up after lunch
14-start Guinevere on school work and put littles down for nap
15-start Glory on school work
16-take a 15 minute nap
17-read with Glory
18-read with Silas
19-work on writing and reading with Guinevere
20-start Hosanna and Silas on workbook
21-tie up loose ends for school
22-daily Bible reading/singing/and prayer time with kids
23-learn to sit quietly (for kids) I watch them closely
24-free time/craft time for littles, I work on chores and start dinner
25-dinner time
26-clean up after dinner
27-on Tuesday's and Friday's shower assembly line
28-on specified days family Bible time
29-brush kids teeth and put them to bed
30-make Donnie breakfast and lunch for the next day
31-load and run dishwasher
32- free time or bedtime for mama

There you have, what this mama does all day. Of course there is way more to what a mom does all day!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A New Schedule

Here is our new daily schedule, even though it will probably change when the baby arrives in July:

Daily Chores
Guinevere (age 7)
·         laundry
·         sweep all bedrooms
Glory (age 5)
·         wipe down and clean bathroom
·         make mom and dad's bed
Silas (age 4)
·         take out garbage in every room
·         clean up backyard
·         make mom and dad’s bed
Hosanna (age 3)
·         wash walls
·         straighten living room
·         clean table

Schedule
1-      Upon rising, make bed and get dressed
2-      Clean room
3-      Wait on couch for breakfast/ Guinevere begins laundry
4-      Eat together
5-      Clean up after breakfast
6-      Brush hair and put on shoes
7-      Play outside or play with specified toys
8-      Clean up and daily chores
9-      Start little ones on school work
10-   Wait for lunch quietly while little ones finish school work
11-   Eat together
12-   Clean up after lunch
13-   Nap time for young (ages 1-5)
14-   Guinevere begin math drills
15-   Glory reading/writing lesson
16-   Guinevere online school and/or daily writing assignments
17-   Glory begins daily workbook lesson
18-   Bible time
19-   Learning to sit quietly
20-   Play time outside or with specified toys/clean up
21-   Wash for dinner
22-   Eat together
23-   On Tuesday and Friday, shower before bed
24-   On specified days, family devotions
25-   Brush teeth
26-   Bed time

      I also made up our 2014-2015 homeschool calendar. I took 7 weeks off after the baby comes, to allow time for us to get adjusted and make the move to Ft Worth, TX. We plan on heading out for Ft Worth on Monday morning August 25th, with our first church service to be held on Sunday, August 31st. After I start home school again, I will not be taking Monday's off, like I do now, to try to make up for that long break. I would post my calendar here, but I cannot figure out how to size it down enough for it to be legible. You can find the template I used at calendarlabs.com

      **Please note that my schedule has changed a bit, but that is the good thing about making your own schedule, you can always change things around as needed :)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Time for Potty Training

After trying out many different "methods" to potty train my little ones, I finally have my own tried and true method, that makes potty training so much more simple and a whole lot less frustrating. Here I will be sharing some of my personal experiences and my opinions. Potty training can be a very frustrating time for many parents, but it doesn't have to be.

You could call it child lead potty training. I wait until the child shows interest in potty training before implementing a few simple things to help them get started. Leading up to this interest I also have a few things that I do to get them interested. Call it freestyle potty training. Call it stress free potty training. Ok so here is what you need to know:

Step 1: Take your child with you to the bathroom when you go. For me this is not difficult because my child follows me wherever I go around this age (1-2 years old). Just by simply watching you, it makes them curious.

Step 2: Talk to the child about where elimination should happen. I will tell them that their 2 goes in the potty. And I will say the same thing when they urinate.

Those things can be started as early as walking age. I do not make a big deal out of either of those things. All I am trying to do is get them to have an interest in potty training. I know my child is ready for the next steps when they start taking off their diapers and go into the bathroom. Or when I see them having a desire to sit on the toilet. After I see an interest I will get out a potty seat. I have found that it doesn't matter what type of seat, but it is best if it is easy to sit down and get back up. Right now I am working with my 5th child. She just recently showed an interest in potty training. I have a little froggy potty that I got from Walmart. I noticed that it is way too big for her to easily sit on or get up from, so she will need a different potty seat to start out with. Now that the child has an interest in toilet training here is how I
proceed:

Step 3: Get them a potty and put it out for easy access

Step 4: Practice sitting on the potty fully clothed. Here you can read books, sing song, talk about elimination. Just for a few minutes several times a day. Really helps!

Step 5: If the child is already removing their own diapers they may come to you or go directly to the potty chair after they have take off their diaper. I encourage them to sit on the potty. It doesn't matter if they go potty.

Step 6: When the child comes to you and tells you that they have a dirty diaper, tell them that they should use the potty instead of their diaper. After you have cleaned up the mess proceed to the toilet, and encourage them to use that for elimination instead.

Most children show an interest in the potty around 1 1/2 years old. Other children may show signs later on that they are ready to potty train. What are the signs? I mentioned a few above, but here is the most sure signs your child is ready.

1 - The child is very uncomfortable in a dirty diaper
2 - The child hides when they dirty their diaper
3 - The child takes you to the bathroom when they have a dirty or wet diaper
4 - The child tells you that they have to go potty, or that they have went potty already

All of these are sure signs of readiness. Here is where my philosophy comes in...I wait until the child freely and willingly wants to use the potty. I set them up to know what the toilet is for, to use the toilet for elimination. I set them up with all of the tools they need to be successful at potty training. I continue with steps 1-6 as long as I need to. Don't rush them along, they will figure it out. This method may not work for you.  I am just speaking from experience. I did not have successfully potty trained children until they were ready. It goes like this: you will be doing steps 1-6, maybe even for a long time, but then one day your child will decided to use the toilet on their own. And they will! It might be very frustrating waiting for them to get it...but it will come.

You may have a more stubborn child. I have a few of those...If the child has used the potty but still wants to wear a diaper or has many accidents (especially messy ones). I will implement a new system. At this point I know the child knows what to do in the potty. They know when they have to go and use the potty, at least most of the time. But they are either lazy or stubborn and do not want to proceed to being fully potty trained. Here is what I do: I implement blessings and cursings system. I will reward when the potty is used appropriately and I will punish them for accidents.

I know how controversial this one is.  I have heard people say that you must not have any negativity surrounding toilet use. But if I know that the reason the child is still in diapers is because they simply do not want to do it, I implement this system. It works very effectively and it wont take long for them to catch on. I know many people that have finally had success with potty training once they used the blessing and cursing system. For whatever reason the child refuses to use the potty, but only goes when they want to...bring it on little one, we will figure this out together!

I have used this same system with the last 3 of my children. Looking back at potty training my first child, I can see the error of what I was doing. I wasn't allowing her the time she needed to potty train. One of my children did not potty train until they were 3. It makes no difference to me, when my child potty trains, as long as they will have success and I wont be stressed out trying to get them to do what I want. After they are using the toilet on their own without my supervision, they are also potty trained through the night, no night time diapers are necessary. Children learn to control their bladders at the same time they mature enough to use the toilet consistently.  That being said, I know that there are exceptions. Maybe your child struggles with bed wetting, or maybe your child just wants to wear a diaper to feel secure at night. These circumstances may take years to remedy, but the child will almost always grow out of it.

The key is to be patient. Wait for them on their time line. And potty training can actually be a lot less stressful.  I hope that what I have mentioned here is helpful to some moms out there. And don't worry if you have a different way, or you think differently than me, I'm not judging you!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Currently

This past weekend we visited our friend's in Prescott Valley. This sweet family started a new baptist church called Word of Truth, just over 6 months ago. It was such a nice visit. I felt so welcomed and their family really went out of their way to make our trip easy and carefree. What a blessing they were! My husband preached for Word of Truth  on Sunday night, you can listen to that here:



I am currently almost 29 weeks pregnant. I just started having heartburn every day. My diet has been a little off this past week. So I think that is definitely a factor. For heartburn during pregnancy I take papaya enzymes and they work GREAT! Better than anything I have tried in the past. I don't have any, at the moment. But now that heartburn has become a daily thing, I will be making a trip to buy some soon! Other than heartburn I have had some ligament pains, and the practice contraction are starting up. Early contractions are very typical for me, so I am not concerned by them in the least. Baby boy is very active and sometimes he does some wacky summer salts in there...it is so fun feeling his crazy kicking.


Also, I bought some cloth diapers for my newbie baby, and they are so adorably cute and tiny. I am working on potty training my 20 month old. But I am in no hurry. If I decide it is too much to cloth diaper them both I will just switch Mary to disposables full time. I have to at least try it out, because I know it is the best thing for them and it really helps our family save money! I am back to making my homemade wipes again and I am so glad. I can make a whole canister of wipes for about 75 cents! And they don't have all of those chemicals in them that I cannot even read. I am trying something new, though. When I bought my itty bitty cloth diapers the lady also gave me these baby bits of soap to make wipes. You put 1 small bit into a spray bottle and add water. You can then use the solution to spray on cloth wipes or you can do like I do and spray directly on baby's bottom. I really like this method too. The only problem is that the glass bottle that the baby bits came with broke. First the spray part broke then today the littles dropped the bottle on the tile floor in my bathroom...so no more spray solution until I get another spray bottle...


Next week we start a new school year with the kids. I may be changing my year round schedule up a bit once baby comes. I will need a few months off during that time to recover from childbirth and to prepare for the move to Ft Worth shortly thereafter. I have finally decided what I will be using for curriculum this year, and I am feeling more confident to teach all 4 older kids at one time. I have yet to actually write out my plan. Thankfully it is not too complicated. I will be sitting down to make a schedule later this week. The new school year begins on May 14...I better get started on that asap!

Other than planning my homeschool year out, I have been really busy here going through our stuff. We have decided on a moving trailer to move just a select few items when it comes time. This is fine with me, but it means that I have to get rid of a whole house full of stuff. And this wont be easy. I know that I have a few months to do this but it still seems overwhelming. But little by little I know it will get done. And I am very hopeful to be giving birth in an almost empty house come July! The weather is really heating up here, which means grueling days for my husband that works out in the heat every day. He does not complain, but he is so exhausted when he gets home. Partly because he has been up since 4 am and partly because the heat just drains your body physically. Praise the Lord for that man!

Since it has been so hot in the afternoon here in Phoenix, I let the kids go out and play in the morning when it is still a decent temperature. Usually I have the kids doing chores, and we do our morning Bible reading. But lately I have been saving all of that for later in the day and I just let them go play the morning away. I have moved their nap time to after 1 pm (it used to be 12 pm) and I have also changed bed time (unofficially) to 8 pm (it is normally 7 pm). After the sun starts to set the weather is perfect for playing once again. So the kids get their second wind during that time. They just love playing with the neighborhood kids, and they also try to get their friends saved...even though they aren't considered soul winners yet, they do their best! Things that make my heart happy!


Hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful Spring weather, that is...unless you live in Phoenix, than you are already enjoying summer temps ;)


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

25 Weeks Pregnant and Do I Own a TV!?!


See the cute profile pic of my baby boy? He is looking like his big brother already! I can't wait to kiss this sweet face! At 25 weeks and 3 days the baby was measuring a whole 3 days older than what he did at the last ultrasound. Which makes my due date estimated between the 21st and 27th. My due date was originally July 27th. So either this boy just has a big head (runs in the family ;) or he will be born early...yay for me. Either way he is healthy and growing and is close to 2 lbs already! I had a midwife appointment this week and everything is going extremely well at this point. I really am feeling great. Now if the kids were not waking up every night needing my attention, I would be sleeping like a baby myself. I am having mixed feelings about how quickly this pregnancy has gone by. Some days I am ready to meet the little guy and other days I think to myself there is no way I will be ready in time.

As I went to have some additional tests run at my midwife appointment, the lady drawing my blood asked me how many kids I have...since I had them all in tow with me during my appointment. I told her I have 5. Her response was "you have 5 and one on the way!...you must not have a TV." What in the world does owning a TV or not owning one have anything to do with having children? This is not the first time I have been told this same rude comment. I just smiled and told her that I think that children are a blessing. What else do you tell someone who makes such a statement. She certainly was being presumptuous and taping into my personal life where she has no business going. IT IS OK if you do not agree with me on the subject of having a normal relationship with my husband and having the children that God blesses me with, but sometimes your opinion is better kept to yourself!


This has been a common response to the amount of children I have in tow with me in many different settings lately. During my ultrasound, I had no choice but to bring my 5 homeschooled children along with me. My husband does have to work some of the time, and is unable to take off of work for all of our families appointments. Of course he tries to do what he can, but again he cannot take off all of the time. So I went alone with my 5 kids to an ultrasound. The ultrasound tech treated me with disdain and asked me if I thought it was wise to have all of my kids with me during the 20 minute long ultrasound. Seriously! I do suppose if my kids acted wildly and out of hand, it would be an issue, but my kids aren't like that. And even if you don't agree with what I am doing, IT IS a business AND the employees should be focused on treating each patient with kindness no matter the circumstances they come in with. Even though sometimes people do not know how to react to a family with 5 small children, I still try to always respond with kindness and a smile. If I am the example of what a family with 5 small children acts like, I want to be as patient and understanding as I can be. I always think, what if later on there is someone just like me who comes along? Maybe those same people will react a little differently. A man on the elevator asked me how many more kids I plan on having. I told him as many as God will give me. He smiled and told me that was great. I told him that children are a blessing from God...because they are and I wouldn't trade even 1 of my kids for anything this world has to offer.

On a happy note...our 4 1/2 year old son, Silas, was saved and baptized last week. We couldn't be more happy for him!


It is really heating up here in the desert. Since it is over 90 degrees outside almost every day now, I think it is time to break out the popsicles and have some fun playing in the water!


Ecclesiastes 11:5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

We Survived the Flu and Other News

Getting back to normal around here! Do you see Silas in the background?

For the past 2 weeks our family has been battling a nasty flu virus. We are finally all on the downward slope of things and finally the kids are sleeping through the night. This is probably the worst illness to affect our family since I can even remember. Being that I am 23 1/2 weeks pregnant does not make things easier. I have been very sick myself, but surviving each demanding day and night. 

Once this sickness has passed, I plan to start getting rid of unnecessary items in our house, to get ready for the move to Fort Worth. It could be that we move there sooner than expected and I want to get as ready as possible. I am also winding down our homeschool year. And looking forward to a fresh start for the new year ahead. I have yet to pick out new curriculum, but I have been trying a few different things out and I expect that I will have all of my planning done and ready to roll out the new year by the deadline in May.

As far as pregnancy goes, I am feeling really good at 23 weeks. My pains have subsided a lot in the past few weeks. I am not struggling with sciatic nerve pain every day and I am SO thankful for that. I have just barely started to think about what I need to do to get ready for this baby. I guess I have had too many other things on my mind. But I did pick up a few little baby items at the thrift store for him and I am trying to get into planning for baby mode. I have also been looking into what it's going to take cloth diaper this little one. Being that half of the diapers I already have are all pink and girly AND that they are still too big for the first few newborn months. I mentioned this in a previous post, but I will most likely use prefolds for the little guy at first, and then go from there. Also, some exciting news is that Mary is showing interest in potty training the past few days. I am so thrilled to start potty training her, I even got out the little potty seat for her to practice sitting on. I will do a blog post in the near future about how I potty train my children, and what my philosophy is behind the issue.

I have been doing a lot of self assessment (as I always do) and I am working toward spending more time with the kids and less time worrying about my messy house. Who has time for a clean house when you have children and a husband to care for? I have been spending a lot of time focused on other things and not focusing on some of the more important things. I am pushing the reset button over here. I need to get rebalanced and regroup. I do this often and it is good when your family has a lot of changing needs. I am thankful for my husband who has set me straight in a lot of ways and helped me to see clearly. I am sometimes too hard on myself. There has been many instances where my husband has said just the right thing to get me back on track. He is a huge help to me! Of course I want to be the perfect mom, but that will never happen. So I am relying on the Lord to fill in the gaps for me. And I pray daily that the Lord will give me wisdom concerning my children and my husband and also that He will lead and guide me in all that I do. So when I ask for this type of thing in prayer, I am sure to follow that up with Bible reading and singing praises to Him. If I am serious about wanting the Lord's leading than I have to put my own foot forward and find what I am looking for.

I also want to share a new documentary with you that my Pastor and Paul Wittenberger made about the King James Bible. It is called New World Order Bible Versions and you can watch the whole thing for free right here. It is a great film! Especially if you are a Bible believing Christian. Don't miss it!



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Favorite Crock Pot Meals - Part 3, Perfect Pintos

My mexican grandmother inspired crock pot pinto beans!

Grandma's Perfect Crock Pot Pinto Beans
4 cups dry pinto beans - washed
edited: no need to soak these overnight
1 small piece of pork fat or bacon
1 clove garlic
water

Add washed pinto beans to crock pot then add water until the crockpot is almost filled to the top (about a 1 inch space remaining) add in piece of pork fat and a clove of peeled garlic. Cook on high heat 4-6 hours. About 3-4 hours into cook time add water, enough to cover beans again and stir. Once beans are nice and tender turn off crock pot. Remove pork fat and garlic clove if desired. Serve with a dab of butter, salt, and add cheese on top. These delicious pintos go perfectly with freshly made tortillas (find my recipe here). Beans do not keep long in the refrigerator, so consider freezing leftover beans after a couples of days in the fridge. Use ziplock baggies or mason jars and leave room for expansion. I love having beans in my freezer, ready to be whipped into refried beans anytime I want! Hope you enjoy my grandma's beans as much as I do, there is NOTHING like fresh beans from the crock pot!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

20 Weeks 4 Days Pregnant

the bump at 20 weeks 4 days

I made it half way! I usually enjoy the 2nd trimester. I feel my best and I usually sleep well. This pregnancy has been different for me. I have had a lot of pain this pregnancy. More days than not. It is mostly sciatic nerve pain, but I am also having round ligament pain and other aches and pains that have no known cause. Other than the pains I am having, I am feeling pretty good during the day. I have been taking an herbal tincture to support my immune system and I really like it. I can definitely tell a difference when I am not taking it and I would recommend taking it if you have trouble with illness during pregnancy. It is called Wish Garden Immune Boost for Pregnancy. I am also considering taking another tincture by Wish Garden called Sleepy Nights, because I am not sleeping well. I keep telling my brain to shut down but it seems to want to work overtime at 2 am... It is not good, busy pregnant mama's need their rest! Wish Garden has a large selection of different herbs and herbal mixtures made just for pregnancy and postpartum, check out their website.

I am also very emotional this pregnancy and I cry a lot. I can't help it...I really don't like being a basket case. My husband is amazingly supportive right now. He is willing to listen and put up with my emotional outburst whenever I need him to. It is not like me, to just cry every time something makes me happy, mad, sad, or otherwise. Hopefully my hormones will balance out soon and I then can stop being such a cry baby.

I decided it is time to finally switch out my wardrobe for maternity clothes. I still fit into a lot of my pre pregnancy clothes, which has been nice. Before I got pregnant with this baby I lost about 25 pounds (that's a guess, because I do not own a scale). I was on an eating plan, that my friend recommended to me, called Trim Healthy Mama. I tell everyone about my success and how easy it is to loose weight eating on plan. Although I do not agree with some of their food suggestions, the principals can still be applied and work effectively for weight loss. I was also doing Trim Healthy Mama when I started my pregnancy. I was having some issues early on, so I discontinued THM for a while. During pregnancy your body has different needs than before, so it is important to listen to your body and do what is right for you.

I can feel the baby move every day, he is very active. I am thrilled to have made it this far.  My days are very busy with caring for my husband and the littles, homeschooling, and house keeping. I hardly notice that the weeks have passed, which is a blessing, since I am anxious to meet our new little one!

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Favorite Crock Pot Meals - Part 2

Here is another go to recipe for any day. It is especially good on cold days paired with homemade bread or biscuits.
before adding water...

Crockpot Chicken Soup
1 Whole Chicken with innards removed
1 onion chopped
5 stalks celery chopped
4 carrots chopped or you can also use baby carrots
2-3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper

Place all of the ingredients into crock pot, then add water, enough to cover the chicken. Set crock pot on high for 4-5 hours or set on low for 6-8 hours. Always check the chicken breast temperature before assuming it is done. It should read exactly 180 degrees for perfectly cooked chicken.

Once your chicken is finished cooking remove from crockpot and set in a baking dish to cool. While it is cooling, perfect your soup. Be sure to add plenty of salt and pepper. Also you can add parsley or other herbs that you may like, just make the soup to your taste.

Now it is time to take the chicken from the bones. It should be very easy, and fall directly off the bones. Discard both skin and bones. Divide chicken into bite sized pieces and add to soup. That's it!

You could thicken the soup with corn starch or flour and serve over mashed potatoes. Or you could add egg noodles (homemade are best) or brown rice, about halfway thru cooking time.

It is so delicious!! You will probably have seconds. It is very good for you too. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Cloth Diapering, it's Not For Wimps

freshly washed diapers on the line!

It's been a while since I did a cloth diaper update. I have been taking a break from cloth diapering over the past coupe of months. With pregnancy complications and holidays thrown into the mix, as well as moving to a new house, I have not been able to get into the groove of cloth diapering again. I have also gotten away from making my homemade wipes. I miss using them, and was planning to make some this week. But I could not find the wipe container I normally use. I suppose it is still packed in a box somewhere from the move. I am not in a hurry to unpack at the moment, as we will be moving shortly after the baby comes in just over 5 months...BUT I am determined to get back into my cloth diapering routine. I am also throwing around the idea of cloth diapering my newborn too. This decision is not easy for me, because it means at least one more load of laundry every day since I will have 2 in diapers...

I will be honest, I do not cloth diaper because it is fun. It is not fun at all. I do it because it saves our family money and is better for my baby's health. What I especially dislike is spraying off poopy diapers. Thankfully breastfed babies poo is water soluble and diapers can be thrown straight into the washer without having to spray them. The diapers I have will work for a small size baby, but not a newborn. So I am contemplating using prefolds for my newborn. I have 40 prefold diapers that I bought a few months ago, along with 10 barely used pocket diapers. They are very plain diapers, but they have been working just fine for Mary at this point. The pocket diapers are called OhBabyKa. They are definitely not a high quality brand name, but they do the job. That is all I care about. I have discontinued use of microfiber inserts all together. They are synthetic garbage as far as I am concerned. They hold in smells and cause diaper rashes. EWWW! The only time I may use a microfiber insert is for overnight cloth diapering, which I do not do unless I am forced to because I have no disposables. I am currently using the prefolds as inserts, and I like them much better!

I am getting a little more adventurous, and have decided that it is ok to take my baby out in a cloth diaper. As long as I am prepared. My brain seems to have a very bad memory these days and I am lucky if I even remember to bring a spare diaper with me when I go out...But with a wet bag, cloth diapering on the go isn't so bad.

Stay tuned to see if I will have the boldness to cloth diaper two babies or if I will wimp out...


Thursday, February 27, 2014

My Favorite Crock Pot Meals - Part 1

I love to make crock pot meals, they are perfect for any day, but especially when you wont have time later to whip up dinner.  This is the first post in a series I will call "My Favorite Crock Pot Meals"

I was given this recipe years ago by a friend who made it for me. It is ALWAYS a hit, no matter who I am serving.

Crock Pot Swiss Chicken and Stuffing

Grease a large crock pot before adding ingredients
Put in 6-8 boneless skinless chicken breasts ( I have also used boneless skinless chicken thighs and strips)
Use 1 can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup to generously coat the top of each piece of chicken
Put Swiss cheese slices over the top of the chicken until it is covered ( I like to use almost a 1/2 pound)
Then add 2 cups seasoned stuffing right over the top
Melt 1 cup of real butter and pour over stuffing
Cook on high heat for 4-6 hours or low heat for 6-8 hours (my crock pot is not a very hot temp crock pot, so you may need to adjust your cook time or temp to make this recipe work in your crock pot)

Serve with a side of veggies
Serves 4-6

Tips: If your chicken meal turns out too dry try adjusting temp or cook time, or add 1/2 cup milk in with your butter to see if that helps.

Hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Date Night Ideas That Don't Include a Babysitter

Most every Saturday night my husband and I have date night. We take turns coming up with ideas. We usually have a great time and sometimes things get a little interesting or weird. Other times our date ideas were complete flops, ha ha! But it doesn't matter what we do as long as we make time to spend with each other. We usually wait until we put the kids to bed at 7 pm to start our date. That way we don't have to go anywhere and we do not need a babysitter. So here are some of our date night ideas. Hopefully this will inspire you to have date night with your spouse too.

#1- Cook a meal together. It is always the best to try something you have never tried making before, or something that is exotic or out of the norm for dinner.
Dinners we have made together: sushi, jambalaya, fish tacos...(that's all I can remember, we make sushi all of the time, it is so fun, and we take turns making each roll :)

#2 - Pizza & cookie art. You could split these and make them on separate date nights. I am just the type that likes desert after dinner. I have done this a few different ways, depending on how much time you have. You could buy a take and bake cheese pizza to save time or make your own pizza at home. Then you get the toppings you like and save them until you are ready to create your art. I like to take turns putting on the toppings and then that is when the art happens. To make cookie art you could use sugar cookie dough or make your own chocolate chip cookie dough without the chocolate chips. Gather your cookie decorating supplies and start creating. I like to do chocolate chip cookie art because you can decorate it while your pizza is baking and then pop it in the oven while you are enjoying your pizza. Sugar cookie would be baked first then start decorating. This is a go to date night idea that is easy and so much fun to do with your spouse!



#3 - Paint watercolors. This is another go to date idea. We usually already have watercolors and paintbrushes, but if you don't they are inexpensive. We usually pick a theme and then paint our own watercolor. We have even framed some of ours...

#4 - Clay sculptures. This is such a fun idea, you could even use play dough. I remember the first time we did this, we went to Texas Roadhouse (our favorite place to eat) and made sculptures after dinner. It was so silly, and a little embarrassing, but it was a lot of fun. One idea for a sculpture could be to sculpt something that reminds you of your spouse.  Things could get really interesting!

#5 - Homemade Root Beer Floats, we spend a quiet evening just enjoying each others company while we treat ourselves, we have also shared a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream (sometimes 2)...yes! it can be that simple, just spend time together.


#6 - Get some of your favorite candies and snack food and watch a movie together.

#7 - Strike up a an evening of interesting conversation by asking your spouse about themselves. Not that you don't already know a lot about them, just try to think up questions, ahead of time, of things you don't know about them. You could also have an evening of setting goals together and asking questions about your husband's vision for the future. I really enjoy this kind of date. Sometimes my husband and I get a little disconnected and this kind of sweet conversation brings us back together and helps me to help him reach his goals.

#8 - We really like origami. You can find a bunch of tutorials online to show you how to make hundreds of different origami creations. Beware of some of the more difficult ones, if you are a beginner, it can get frustrating and take the fun out of your special night, wink wink...

#9 - Play a fun board game together. My favorites are Scrabble, card games, Battleship, and even games from the dollar store. Add a take out dinner or snack food to add to the fun.

#10 - Fear factor date night...need I say more. Get creative and get ready for a night of laughing and ridiculous faces. Always video tape dates like these.

#11 - Minute to win it. I guess there is a show called minute to win it. I have never seen it, but the little competitive games make for a fantastic date night of silly fun. Just type minute to win it into Google or you tube and pick your favorites. This would also make a really fun party or double date.

#12 - Go on a hike and bring the kids along. Plan a picnic and it turns into the perfect family date.

Hope you enjoy trying some of these ideas with your spouse. And if you have date night ideas, I am always looking for more, so please leave a comment with your suggestions.


Happy Faces

silly 

so much help!

broken arm #2

mustache

Valentine's from Nana & Popi

chocolate feast

hey mom, take our picture!